News & Politics

U.S. Used a Nasty New Hellfire Missile In Retaliatory Drone Strike on ISIS-K

SSgt Brian Ferguson

The United States used a relatively new gruesome, but effective kind of missile for its first retaliatory strike after the suicide bombings at the Kabul airport.

The Wall Street Journal:

WASHINGTON—The Pentagon used a special Hellfire missile that packs no explosives to strike Islamic State militants in Afghanistan on Saturday in retaliation for a suicide bomb attack at the Kabul airport last week, according to two U.S. officials.

The airstrike, carried out by a Reaper drone flown from the Persian Gulf region, killed two militants associated with the Afghanistan offshoot of the Islamic State extremist group, and injured a third individual.

The Pentagon declined to release the identities of any of the individuals targeted. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Kabul airport attack that killed 13 American troops and nearly 200 Afghan civilians.

The missile used by the U.S. in the airstrike, called an R9X, is inert. Instead of exploding, the weapon ejects a halo of six large blades stowed inside the skin of the missile, which deploy at the last minute to shred the target of the strike, allowing military commanders to pinpoint their target and reduce the possibility for civilian casualties.

Yikes but, also, impressive.

The article goes on to say that the military nickname for the missile is the “flying Ginsu.”

It’s not known exactly how many times the R9X has been used because the Pentagon doesn’t exactly hit Instagram for everything it accomplishes.

The missile was developed to be lethal while limiting collateral damage, which the Journal first reported on in 2019:

WASHINGTON—The U.S. government has developed a specially designed, secret missile for pinpoint airstrikes that kill terrorist leaders with no explosion, drastically reducing damage and minimizing the chances of civilian casualties, multiple current and former U.S. officials said.

Both the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon have used the weapon while closely guarding its existence. A modified version of the well-known Hellfire missile, the weapon carries an inert warhead. Instead of exploding, it is designed to plunge more than 100 pounds of metal through the tops of cars and buildings to kill its target without harming individuals and property close by.

To the targeted person, it is as if a speeding anvil fell from the sky, the officials said. But this variant of the Hellfire missile, designated as the R9X, also comes equipped with a different kind of payload: a halo of six long blades that are stowed inside and then deploy through the skin of the missile seconds before impact to ensure that it shreds anything in its tracks.

Details about the secret weapon and its deployment were confirmed by more than a dozen current and former U.S. officials. Its development and use haven’t been previously disclosed, though its existence has been the subject of speculation.

Our military is still the most advanced, mightiest, and most effective on Earth when not being hampered by idiots in upper management. Had our troops been allowed to do their job in Afghanistan for the last 20 years then, well, we probably wouldn’t have been there for 20 years.

Related: Former SecDef/CIA Head Panetta: We ‘Have to Go Back’ to Afghanistan to Get ISIS-K

Should we end up re-committing troops to clean up Biden’s mess, it would be nice if the pencil-pushers stayed out of the way.